An 18-year-old exchange student is accused of threatening to shoot up his Delaware County Catholic high school and investigators allege they found ammunition, a crossbow and military-style equipment in the student's bedroom.
The teen, An Tso Sun, was arrested Wednesday by Upper Darby police. The student from Taiwan threatened to "shoot up" Bonner & Prendergast Catholic High School, Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.
Sun allegedly told another student to not come to school on May 1 because something would happen, Chitwood said. He then allegedly said he was joking but the fellow student reported it anyway to the school, which alerted police.
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Investigators went to the home of the host family where Sun is living after the alleged threats were brought to the attention of police Tuesday. They allegedly found a military-style ballistic vest, military-style web gear with pouches to hold ammo clips, a crossbow with scope and seven arrows, a loading dock for rifle clips, 9-mm ammunition and a strangling device in his bedroom, police said.
Investigators have evidence on a school-issued iPad that allegedly shows Sun researched AR-15 and AK-47 firearms. He was possibly trying to purchase a weapon, Chitwood said.
"He's not denying anything he's being accused of," Chitwood said.
"I can't commend the school enough for doing the right thing," Chitwood said while saying Monsignor Bonner High School and Archbishop Prendergast High School are "safe schools."
Sun has been in the country on a student visa, Chitwood said.
Sun remained jailed Wednesday, unable to post 10 percent of $100,000 bail on terroristic threat charges.
Defense attorney Enrique Latoison said his client "had no intention or plans" to commit a school shooting and many items found were what he wore to school for a Halloween costume contest.
"I don't believe what he said rises to the crime of terroristic threatening," Latoison said. "He said, 'Just kidding.' I understand the heightened sensitivity, but he is not from here, he didn't possess the same social skills of what it is to grow up in the post-Columbine generation. ... You and I understand that it's not a funny joke, but maybe he doesn't understand that."
He declined to comment on the allegations that ammunition was found and the defendant researched buying weapons but said that even if true neither was illegal.